We need a father to rage against. When a father is neither dead nor alive, when he is a ghost, the will is impotent. My ambitions, when it came to my father, were ordinary. Like that famous son in The Odyssey—like most sons, I suspect—I wished that 'at least I had some happy man / as father, growing old in his own house.' But, unlike Telemachus, I continue, after twenty-five years, to endure my father's 'unknown death and silence.' I envy the finality of funerals. I covet the certainty. How it must be to wrap one's hands around the bones, to choose how to place them, to be able to pat the patch of earth and sing a prayer.
— Hisham Matar, The Return